Fashion of Marie Antoinette.docx - Perrin 1 Elissa Perrin...

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Perrin 1Elissa PerrinHistory of CostumeDecember 8th 2018Fashion: Marie Antoinette’s Salvation and CondemnationIn regards to the rise and fall of the fashion styles laid out by Marie Antoinette, I havealways found it intriguing that her legacy is one of extravagance and frivolity when she as aperson was quite different. Marie Antoinette in many instances showed that she had a level headwhen needed and that once she realized they did not have the money to back their exorbitantlifestyle she had tried to make changes. She was essentially a captive princess in a foreign landdue to political marriage, clothing was quickly shown to be the equivalent to power in Frenchsociety for the Austrian princess. My thesis regards the powerful statement that clothing providedfor the last queen of France.(Painting done by her sister Marie Christina of Marie holding a doll dressed in the latest fashions)To begin, Maria Antonia Anna Josepha was the youngest of 15 children born to MariaTheresa, the queen of Austria. Her childhood was one of freedom being that she was not
Perrin 2expected to have as many duties as her older sisters so she and much of her family dressed insimpler fashions and were encouraged to engage with the “common children” of Austria.Antonia, as her family called her, was known for her love of dancing and singing and wouldshirk her duties of learning court manners in favor of having fun. This is brought up to discussthe importance of her Austrian upbringing towards the style of fashion Antonia truly preferred.However once brought to the court of France after being thoroughly tutored, she was stripped ofeverything that made her Austrian, even redubbed Marie Antoinette as she is majorly knowntoday. This was the first clue to Marie that fashion was important. The public opinion was waryof the Austrian princess so all mementos and clothing of Austria were taken and replaced withthose of French origin.As Weber points out in her book,Queen of Fashion: What MarieAntoinette Wore to the Revolution, "She very quickly intuited that clothing was a means oflooking like she had more power than she did, [...] Fashion was the only vocabulary she could hitupon to try to construct herself as a figure of authority."(Painting of Marie at age thirteen to be shown to the dauphin before their marriage)Furthermore, the reason why the fashion of Marie Antoinette is intriguing is because shedidn’t let it be a reason to feel even more displaced and instead made herself become a fashionicon. From the get go, she did not let herself be taken by others influence and while she did not
Perrin 3prefer the more elaborate clothing compared to her austrian frocks, she understood that theywould give her the image she needed. Her position was unsteady for the first years as herhusband refused to consummate the marriage, and French queens had no political power orduties she could fall back on. Thus, Marie made a conscious decision to break fashion standards

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Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI of France, Marie

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